Time to work smarter: three bad habits you need to break

Time to work smarter: three bad habits you need to break

Time to work smarter: three bad habits you need to break

Time management is the process of planning and dividing your time between specific tasks. Effective time management allows you to get more of the important work done during the day. Without it, stress levels surge and productivity plummets.

Time to Work Smarter

Time management is the process of planning and dividing your time between specific tasks. Effective time management allows you to get more of the important work done during the day. Without it, stress levels surge and productivity plummets.

While one of the most integral skills in the workplace, it’s easy to fall into bad time management habits. Thankfully, there are easy-to-implement strategies that can add hours to your day. Here are three of the biggest time wasters we see, and the best ways to work smarter.

“Time management… Without it, stress levels surge and productivity plummets.”

Time Waster #1 – Managing Workflow

Stress isn’t linked to the amount of work we have. Stress is linked to the way you manage your workload.

How to manage it: The 5-Minute Rule

The 5-Minute Rule, also known as the ‘One Touch One Decision Rule’, is a method I use on a day-to-day basis both at work and home. It’s easy to implement and can have a significant impact on your productivity and stress levels almost immediately. Sound appealing? Thought so. If you can practice this principle until it becomes second nature it will be extremely valuable.

The logic is simple. You must make a decision as soon as you touch an email or a document or think of an idea. You don’t necessarily have to complete the task at that time, but you need to decide what you’ll do and when.

If the task is less than 5 minutes? Do it immediately. More than 5 minutes? Decide when you’ll do it and estimate the amount of time you’ll need to complete it. Then, go into your calendar, task app or notebook and schedule the tasks for a specific date and time. Simple.

Once you’ve decided whether to do it now or schedule it now, remove the email/piece of paper and advise the person of your intention. A quick response with your timeframe can stop future headaches – and who wouldn’t want to stop headaches?

Make the decision and either delete or file the document. The only items in your inbox or in-tray, should be items you have not yet applied this rule to. When you arrive home do you check the letterbox, open the letter, read it and then put it back to deal with later? I sure hope not. Treat your work inbox the same way, and give yourself the gift of time. You deserve it.

The 5-Minute Rule

 

  • If the task is less than 5 minutes, do it immediatley.
  • More than 5 minutes? Decide when you’ll complete it and estimate the amount of time you’ll need.
  • Go to your calendar and schedule it for a specific date and time.

Time Waster #2 – Lack of Focus

Focus is productivity’s best friend but interruption and distractions love to interfere. It’s important to know the difference between the two; interruption is caused by someone else, and distraction is caused by you.

How to reduce interruptions

It’s your time, so YOU decide how to spend it. If someone appears at your desk when you’re in the middle of something, ask them to come back or agree on a time to discuss things later. Start a list or set up daily, weekly or monthly calendar items to designate focus to a specific task.

Don’t be a slave to notifications. If you’re working on a key project or doing something that will have a high impact on your business – turn off your phone, close your inbox and focus. You won’t regret it.

How to reduce distractions

1. Capture it or write it down

Picture this: You start to work on something and suddenly remember a phone call you need to make. You make the call and completely break focus or decide to do it later and let the thought keep playing in your mind. Sound familiar? Our lifestyles are busy – and distractions are abundant. But there’s an easy fix.

As soon as you think about something you need to do, simply write it down. Don’t let the thought set up camp in your subconscious. Instead, offload it in a mini notebook you carry everywhere or an app in your phone. On a daily basis, review your list while in your office. Apply the 5-minute rule.

2. Keep it clean

A clean work environment equals a clean mind. Thankfully, Outlook is a much better task manager than your desk. Your desk doesn’t tell you when to do something and how long it will take – so don’t burden it with your to-do list.

Be sure to also apply the 5-minute rule to your incoming work, and don’t let it distract you from what’s really important.

As soon as you think about something you need to do, simply write it down… On a daily basis, review your list while in your office. Apply the 5-minute rule.

Time Waster #3 – Ineffective meetings

This is a big one. Filling up your diary with unnecessary meetings is a surefire way to kill focus and create ample interruption and distractions.

How to make your meetings smarter

  1.  Eliminate unnecessary meetings. You need to be protective of your time and carefully select the meetings you will accept.
  2. Assess the right amount of time required. We so often book one-hour meetings for items that can be discussed in 15 minutes.
  3. Have an agenda and stick to it. Focus on one task at a time.
  4. Keep everyone accountable. After a meeting make sure you take five minutes to plan your next steps, so everyone knows what they are doing. Remember the 5-minute rule.

Homework!

Be honest with yourself. Identify the 2 or 3 time wasters most applicable to you and write them down. You can do it both for home and for work. Once you’re clear on what you need to work on, write down what you’ll need to do to improve.

Improvement doesn’t need to be complex. Simple strategies often get big results. In 21 days’, time, see how you’re going and if you notice changes to your stress and productivity. If not, then go back and review the strategies to identify what may be stopping you from improving. Make sure you inform those around you of your intentions; colleagues, friends and family. Having support is the key to making any changes to behaviour.

Good Luck!

Lisa Hooton
Lisa Hooton is the founding director of Nurture Accounting in North Lakes QLD. She has 25 years experience in Public Practice with a passion for Small Business Compliance. Lisa is dedicated to Nurture’s clients and team, always learning, fun and spirited individual. Lisa is a guru in time and workflow managment. She is also an advocate for the development and implementation of automation and cloud systems in small business. Lisa is a supporter of women in small business and an active volunteer in the local community. Lisa lives with her husband of 24 years and 3 amazing daughters in Murrumba Downs QLD. She spends her downtime writing blogs and courses on business administration and management, is an avid gamer and loves a good road trip. BBus (hons). BArts (hons). CPA. MIPA. Registered Tax Agent. Registered ASIC Agent. Xero Certified Advisor and Xero Gold Partner.

Still have questions?

Perhaps you’d like to know more about this blog’s topic? Or perhaps we impressed you so much with our know-how on this topic, that you’d like to ask us about another accounting related topic?

Either way, feel free to drop us a line – we really are as friendly as we seem to be.

Accounting for time: creating balance in your business

Accounting for time: creating balance in your business

Accounting for time: creating balance in your business

As accountants with a soft spot for small business bookkeeping, we know a thing or two about the importance of balance.

Creating balance for your business

As accountants with a soft spot for small business bookkeeping, we know a thing or two about the importance of balance.

And I’m not just talking about the kind of balance that applies to your books (though, let’s be honest, I’d be happy to) – I’m talking about the kind that applies to your time. It’s the most valuable and finite resource we have, but all-too-often the first thing we neglect to nurture – and thus lose sight of.

Working HARD means working SMART

I hear constantly from my team and accounting clients that one of their biggest frustrations is finding themselves at the end of a busy work day and still feeling completely behind. They work hard through a frenzy of stress and small crises, and before they know it the time to work on their big-ticket items has evaporated. From the outside they seem busy, but in reality they haven’t progressed – like a hamster on a wheel.

So many of us spend our time working hard – and are committed to performing well – but we don’t work smart.

 

“Before they know it, the time to work on big-ticket items has evaporated. From the outside they seem busy, but in reality they haven’t progressed… So many of us spend our time working hard – but we don’t work smart.”

If this sounds like you – you’re not alone. But you’re also in luck, because I’m about to add more hours to your day. Here’s how:

1. Make it personal

As bookkeepers, we know all-too-well that the time we spend being ineffective and/or inefficient in the workplace, is time that we lose from our personal lives – where it matters most.  But this applies to everyone. When I ask people what they would do if they were more in control of their time, the most common responses are:

  • Come home earlier to see my kids
  • Have more time to look after my health
  • Avoid bringing my work stress home
  • Avoid waking up at night thinking about what I forgot to do

You’ll notice that none of these reasons are to do with a better bottom line or revenue stream. As workers, I believe our general goal is to get our job done so that we can spend our time doing other things. If you’re struggling with motivation, make a change and set a personal goal, instead of a business goal.

There are two steps to making a change:

1. Own it: Take note of inefficiencies and ineffective practices in your work routine. Tip: Are you spending so much time in reactive mode, that you run out of energy to be proactive?

2. Fix it: Work on simple ways to improve performance and work/life balance by challenging your daily habits. Tip: Try spending the first hour of your day on a big ticket item, before checking your inbox.

Two Steps to making a change:

  1. Own it: Take note of inefficiencies and ineffective practices in your work routine. 

  1. Fix it: Work on simple ways to improve performance and work/life balance by challenging your daily habits.

EFFICIENCY VS EFFECTIVENESS

Efficiency – doing things right (how)

Effectiveness – doing the right things (what)

 

2. Declutter your workspace

There have been numerous studies that indicate our brains are most efficient and effective when there are less distractions. A clean, productive workspace equals a clean, productive mind – equals more time for the things you enjoy.

So, time for a bit of tough love.  Personally, I’m a minimalist (to the point where my friends have told me to write a book about it, as my place looks like we have just been robbed!) and as a general rule, I believe that if you need to buy boxes and storage items to help you organise – you need to declutter.

And by declutter – I don’t mean put it in the cupboard or the garage where you’ll forget it exists. I mean donate, or dump. Get rid of it!

Clear the desk

As tax accountants, we review a lot of documents. But our North Lakes office is paperless, which means there’s no need for trays, no random unused stationery and no outdated reports taking up precious real estate on our desks. If you’re working on an electronic document – spare our planet the footprint and don’t print it. If you insist on sipping a tea or coffee as you work – don’t leave it sitting there for long enough to grow its own ecosystem. You’re better than that.

Feel like a boss

We tax accountants tend to be pretty logical folk, so I believe that your electronic filing system should be so logical that you could navigate it in your sleep – but I know this is easier said than done. When designing your system, relate it to how you see your role and the different hats you wear in your job.

  1. Be honest: Will I need it?
  2. Be ruthless: When was the last time I used it?
  3. Be smart: Can I find it easily somewhere else?
  4. Be clear: How can I name it so that I don’t have to open it to know exactly what’s inside?

That last point is very important. Also, keep in mind that you may need to search your computer  so naming 100 documents ‘client workpapers’ isn’t advisable.

If you’re an employee who is not in control of the electronic filing system in your workplace and it’s inefficient, be the one to instigate change. Make it your project!

When designing your system:

  1. Be honest: Will I need it?
  2. Be ruthless: When was the last time I used it?
  3. Be smart: Can I find it easily somewhere else?
  4. Be clear: How can I name it so that I don’t have to open it to know exactly what’s inside?

3. Outsource your bookkeeping and accounting to professionals

Business owners and managers have so many balls to keep in the air – so why not leave the numbers to the accountants? One of the smartest ways to scale your business – and reclaim your time – is identifying tasks that you can outsource.

We’ll help you grow, and you’ll have more energy for the things that matter most. Why not contact us to find out more.

 

Apply these three steps to restore balance to your life in no time – so that you can have more of it.

Lisa Hooton
Lisa Hooton is the founding director of Nurture Accounting in North Lakes QLD. She has 25 years experience in Public Practice with a passion for Small Business Compliance. Lisa is dedicated to Nurture’s clients and team, always learning, fun and spirited individual. Lisa is a guru in time and workflow managment. She is also an advocate for the development and implementation of automation and cloud systems in small business. Lisa is a supporter of women in small business and an active volunteer in the local community. Lisa lives with her husband of 24 years and 3 amazing daughters in Murrumba Downs QLD. She spends her downtime writing blogs and courses on business administration and management, is an avid gamer and loves a good road trip. BBus (hons). BArts (hons). CPA. MIPA. Registered Tax Agent. Registered ASIC Agent. Xero Certified Advisor and Xero Gold Partner.

Still have questions?

Perhaps you’d like to know more about this blog’s topic? Or perhaps we impressed you so much with our know-how on this topic, that you’d like to ask us about another accounting related topic?

Either way, feel free to drop us a line – we really are as friendly as we seem to be

Love what you do

Love what you do

Love what you do

Want to be more engaged, dedicated and productive? Doing what you love and are passionate about creates the enthusiasm needed to create engagement, dedication and productivity.

Love What You Do

Want to be more engaged, dedicated and productive? Doing what you love and are passionate about creates the enthusiasm needed to create engagement, dedication and productivity. As a business owner, you have the opportunity to step back and review what part of your business you are spending your time on. You need to not only regularly assess if this is the best use of your time, but also are you doing what you love?

Focus on tasks you enjoy

I believe everyone can, and should explore and develop their interests. If you hate doing the accounts at night after a day on the tools – don’t do them! Join a sporting team, play the PlayStation – whatever you want to do with your time. Work will become more enjoyable and thus productive. Maybe you love the administration and marketing side – in which case you need to get the support in place in your business so you can step away from the output and focus on the business. No option is right or wrong, but if you are focusing on the part of the business you enjoy – you will not only have an improvement in quality of life, but your business will feel this too.

“No option is right or wrong, but if you are focusing on the part of the business you enjoy – you will not only have an improvement in quality of life, but your business will feel this too.”

There are three types of workers

  1. Job Oriented – see work as a means to an end, allowing them to pursue other interests in their personal lives
  2. Career Oriented – focused on achievement related to upward mobility.
  3. Calling Oriented – align their work with their personal identity, which is how they find meaning.

Which one are you? Where do your team fit into this?

 

Which Worker are you?

“There are Three Types of Workers; Job Oriented, Career Oriented and Calling Oriented.”

Being realistic about “what you love”

You might say there is a fair amount of privilege in the statement “do what you love” as we can agree there are many that do what is needed to pay the bills and survive. That’s a whole other debate around education, breaking cycles and taking risks – for another day!

I prefer the statement “do what you are good at” or “do what you are interested in right now”. How do you know what you are good at?
What are your strengths? Do things that come naturally to you, or that you can do with little effort. That is doing what you are good at.

Implementing doing “What you love” into your business:

As a small business owner you can achieve this simply by stepping back and looking at your business as a whole, making a list of the tasks that need to be done, and allocating those you are good at or interested in to yourself. There is of course added bonus to those who can do this for their staff too. Happy team, happy boss!

“Do what you are good at or do what you are interested in right now… Do things that come naturally to you, or that you can do with little effort. That is doing what you are good at.”

For those reading this that are thinking I hate administration, bookkeeping etc – guess what? We LOVE IT. It’s our strength, what we enjoy and thrive on. You may not understand this – and you don’t have to understand other people’s passions – just take advantage of them. I can guarantee you that we can do your books in half the time you can and provide you with useful analytical information to help your business grow. Interested?

Lisa Hooton
Lisa Hooton is the founding director of Nurture Accounting in North Lakes QLD. She has 25 years experience in Public Practice with a passion for Small Business Compliance. Lisa is dedicated to Nurture’s clients and team, always learning, fun and spirited individual. Lisa is a guru in time and workflow managment. She is also an advocate for the development and implementation of automation and cloud systems in small business. Lisa is a supporter of women in small business and an active volunteer in the local community. Lisa lives with her husband of 24 years and 3 amazing daughters in Murrumba Downs QLD. She spends her downtime writing blogs and courses on business administration and management, is an avid gamer and loves a good road trip. BBus (hons). BArts (hons). CPA. MIPA. Registered Tax Agent. Registered ASIC Agent. Xero Certified Advisor and Xero Gold Partner.

Still have questions?

Perhaps you’d like to know more about this blog’s topic? Or perhaps we impressed you so much with our know-how on this topic, that you’d like to ask us about another accounting related topic?

Either way, feel free to drop us a line – we really are as friendly as we seem to be

Resolutions for Small Business Owners

Resolutions for Small Business Owners

Resolutions for Small Business Owners

Spending time setting some goals for the year ahead is just as important in business as it is personally. For business owners, making new years resolutions can make a huge impact both for your motivation when you start back at work as well as during the year.

New year – new leaf

As a business owner, the start of a new year is a time to regather your vision for the business, take time for yourself and spend time with your family. Spending some time setting goals and plans for the year ahead is just as important in business as it is personally. For small business owners, resolutions can make a huge impact both for your motivation when you start back at work as well as during the year. Read further for some inspiration to get you started setting goals for 2021.

1. Prioritise Balance

The 9 to 5 that most employees enjoy, is often not the same balance that business owners enjoy. That’s why it’s important to prioritise balance. To continue to be a successful entrepreneur you must take the time to recharge your batteries, otherwise you risk burning out or making errors. Take time for you, try a yoga class or go for a walk along the beach. Promise us and yourself that you’ll make the time for balance this New Year.

2. Remember to put on pants

Ok, we are certainly pro a non-traditional workplace – no high heels or pencil skirts at Nurture! A less serious resolution on the surface, but one this author is going to attempt in 2021. “Putting on pants” each day includes taking pride in oneself and how you present to the world. Being confident in yourself, your skills and what you can provide to your clients or customers. COVID19 working from home although challenging at times, provided a safe and pant free environment for this little worker. Moving into 2021 it’s time to break those bad habits and function fully back in the world. A morning ritual is key, and is currently being planned out. Watch this space! 

3. Make Work Fun

Own a business they said, it’ll be fun they said. Okay, we’ve all been there – the questions of “why did I start this” and “I have no time anymore” are common questions business owners ask themselves. And if you’ve asked yourself these, it’s time to a) prioritise balance like we firstly recommended, and two start making work FUN! Create a happy place at work by creating happiness boosting traditions – yes you heard us right! Whether that’s a daily joke, watching a funny youtube video or making your workspace more invigorating. It’s important to have fun!

4. Be authentic

This is something we work really hard on as a team at Nurture. In a nutshell, we describe being authentic as being open and honest with the people around you, in a tactful and professional way. You will be surprised how much easier day to day life is when you simply focus on authenticity. Keep in mind it doesn’t always go down well, with some others not appreciating the honesty! Just remember you cannot control how other people respond and behave, but you can control your own actions and behaviour. 

Louise Duce, director at Nurture set a professional resolution of being brave. Being authentic is being brave. Telling people what they need to hear (again, professionally) not what they want to hear. Yes, upsetting the apple cart is inevitible – but you are doing everyone an injustice not being authentic. Being able to see and deal with the truth enables growth – personally and in business. 

5. A goal without a plan is just a wish

Setting goals and plans for the year ahead is really important in small business. Running a business without goals is like flying a plane with no idea where you want to land. Even if you have short and long term goals in place, they need to be reviewed regularly and have plans in place with acheiveable steps to ensure the goals can be attained. January is the perfect time to grab a coffee and get started with goal setting.

Need some direction? Here are some basic tips to help you get started setting goals.

  • goals must be yours and mean something to you
  • goals must be specific and measurable
  • goals must be flexible
  • goals must be challenging and exciting
  • goals must be in alignment with your values
  • goals must be realistic
  • goals must be supported (but those around you)

 

6. Learn to Delegate

Now, this is crucial. If you want to make work more fun, prioritise balance and have time to set goals you’re probably going to have to delegate. You’re smart, you’ve accomplished a great business and you’re probably not great at delegating because you trust yourself to do the job right. So, stop that and start to delegate some of your tasks to the employees that you’ve carefully selected and hired to help. Alternatively, outsource to your trusted tribe or professionals and focus on the elements of the business you are not only good at, but enjoy. Shifting the work to someone else is an adjustment, but once trained and confident you’ll have more balance in your life!

But don’t delegate the goal setting and planning – that’s all on you.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success” – Pable Picasso

About the Author.

Lisa Hooton is the founding director of Nurture Accounting in North Lakes QLD. She has 25 years experience in Public Practice with a passion for Small Business Compliance. Lisa is dedicated to Nurture’s clients and team, always learning, fun and spirited individual. 

Lisa is a guru in time and workflow managment. She is also an advocate for the development and implementation of automation and cloud systems in small business. Lisa is a supporter of women in small business and an active volunteer in the local community. 

Lisa lives with her husband of 24 years and 3 amazing daughters in Murrumba Downs QLD. She spends her downtime writing blogs and courses on business administration and management, is an avid gamer and loves a good road trip. 

 

BBus (hons). BArts (hons). CPA. MIPA.
Registered Tax Agent. Registered ASIC Agent.
Xero Certified Advisor and Xero Gold Partner.

 

 

 

Still have questions?

Perhaps you’d like to know more about this blog’s topic? Or perhaps we impressed you so much with our know-how on this topic, that you’d like to ask us about another accounting related topic?

Either way, feel free to drop us a line – we really are as friendly as we seem to be 🙂

Claim back Christmas this year

Claim back Christmas this year

Claim back Christmas this year

We can’t do much about the “no dancing” this year, but we can help you negotiate the rules around Christmas parties, gifts and deductibility.

what can you claim this christmas?

We can’t do much about the “no dancing” this year, but we can help you negotiate the rules around Christmas parties, gifts and deductibility.

Each Christmas business owners big and small ask us what they can deduct from work Christmas parties and gifts. Sound like a question you have? We thought so, keep reading!

So, here’s what you need to know.

What is FBT, and what does it have to do with Christmas?

FBT stands for Fringe Benefits Tax and it’s important to understand that there is no independent fringe benefits tax (FBT) category for Christmas parties. However, certain aspects of your Christmas party may be exempt from FBT if they can pass as a minor and infrequent benefit.

A minor benefit is defined by the ATO as a benefit that is ‘less than $300 in notional taxable value’ and ‘unreasonable to treat as a fringe benefit’. Under this definition, you may be eligible for relief from FBT as long as the cost per head does not exceed $300. To calculate this simply divide the total cost of the party by the number of attendees.

“Always remember that if an item is exempt from FBT, then it is not tax deductible, nor can you claim the GST credits.”

Can I claim my Christmas gifts?

The $300 limit also applies to Christmas gifts you provide to your staff however the deductibility and GST treatment is based on whether the gift is “entertainment” or “non-entertainment”. To get the best outcome we recommend providing “non-entertainment” gifts (see below) costing less than $300 and you will be able to claim a tax deduction plus claim the GST.

Examples of non-entertainment gifts:

  • Skincare and beauty products
  • Flowers
  • Wine
  • Perfumes
  • Gift vouchers
  • Hampers.

Did you know?

Did you know if you serve alcohol at your Christmas party – the entire event’s expenses become non-deductible?

The ins and outs of deductibility

For the entire cost of a Christmas party to be a deductible expense, the Christmas party must meet the following criteria:

  • Held on your business premises

  • Held on a working day

  • Held for current employees, volunteers, customers, and suppliers only

  • No alcohol

  • Only finger food or a light meal provided

  • No employee associates (e.g. spouses, children, etc.) present

If a Christmas party includes any of the following elements, the entire cost is non-deductible:

  • Alcohol is served
  • Employee associates (e.g. spouses, children, etc.) attending
  • Held at a location other than your business premises

The Christmas deduction wrap-up

In summary, you can avoid FBT during the festive season by keeping the per head costs below $300, but the expenditure will be non-deductible entertainment.

Some may argue that ensuring your Christmas party is tax deductible by complying with the above criteria is not in the best interests of staff moral and certainly not inductive to building strong relationships and fostering a positive work culture within your business.

Lisa Hooton
Lisa Hooton is the founding director of Nurture Accounting in North Lakes QLD. She has 25 years experience in Public Practice with a passion for Small Business Compliance. Lisa is dedicated to Nurture’s clients and team, always learning, fun and spirited individual. Lisa is a guru in time and workflow managment. She is also an advocate for the development and implementation of automation and cloud systems in small business. Lisa is a supporter of women in small business and an active volunteer in the local community. Lisa lives with her husband of 24 years and 3 amazing daughters in Murrumba Downs QLD. She spends her downtime writing blogs and courses on business administration and management, is an avid gamer and loves a good road trip. BBus (hons). BArts (hons). CPA. MIPA. Registered Tax Agent. Registered ASIC Agent. Xero Certified Advisor and Xero Gold Partner.

Still have questions?

Perhaps you’d like to know more about this blog’s topic? Or perhaps we impressed you so much with our know-how on this topic, that you’d like to ask us about another accounting related topic?

Either way, feel free to drop us a line – we really are as friendly as we seem to be 🙂